Touch, Transmissions And Tangles – Time For A Tidy?Posted: February 23, 2020
Hello you. Hope you all had a good weekend, avoided the weather and spent as many hours in dimly-lit studios as I did? Of course, but now it’s time to put aside all that chaotic fun and emerge blinking into the dawn of a new week, where you’ll find plenty of intriguing goings on in the offing. First and most importantly, please do come and join us at Cafe Oto this Tuesday evening for a very special Touch Presents… night featuring a live performance from Howlround, as well as UnicaZürn, Bill Thompson and a special guest in the shape of Zachary Paul, joining us all the way from LA. Rumour has it that Zach and Howlround will be duetting, which is an exciting and also nerve-wracking prospect. On the one hand his album A Meditation On Discord was a personal highlight of last year, on the other the entire Howlround live set up has somehow become an unfathomable tangle at the bottom of my suitcase. This is partly due to a hurried trip up to Tottenham Hale on Saturday morning at the behest of Stephan and Adam of Littoral Transmissions, who asked me to be a guest performer on the latest edition of their Threads Radio show.
Due to restricted space in the studio and having to set up as quickly as possible, I was forced to improvise with my choice of temporary tape loop storage, but I hope you’ll agree the resulting hour made the perfect ambient soundtrack to staying under the duvet and avoiding the weather. It’s now available online to anyone who missed the live broadcast and can be checked out below.
Thanks to everyone who put in a bid for one of the three limited-edition white vinyl Howlround 7” singles made for this year’s ResonanceFM Auction – I can reveal that ‘Yosemite’ raised a total of just over £244, all of which will go towards keeping London’s greatest radio station on air for another year. Once again we’re indebted to Dan from OneCutVinyl.com, who donated his time and resources for free and is an absolute champ. Splendid company down the pub too!
Some Howlround single activity of a slightly less amenable nature now, as my recent Anti-Brexit track ‘UnEngland’ with Dolly Dolly is reviewed in this month’s edition of The Wire. I was a bit surprised at the mention of synths and helicopters (I’ve sworn off both – all the sounds were generated by tape), but it’s certainly a more thoughtful summation than that one review we had on Facebook where we got flatly accused of racism for using the term GAMMON.
Fist-shaking Little-Englanders and the threat of official complaints notwithstanding, the track is still available, though due to an administrative error it has up to now has been the original demo mix that was being downloaded, not the version splendidly mastered by Jez Butler. This has now been corrected and the person responsible for this oversight has been sacked – email me if you’ve already purchased and need a replacement.. We’re still donating the proceeds to Extinction Rebellion, which also seems to have made a few other people quite cross – keeping everyone happy is certainly a challenge when you’re ensconced in a ‘clueless liberal metropolitan bubble’.
Let’s cheer ourselves up by leaving that bubble and heading for a remote house in the countryside, where all is clearly not going well for a short-tempered academic and his long-suffering wife. I am of course referring to last year’s SHIVERS performance at St. Mary’s Tower in Hornsey, where Sam Enthoven and I provided an appropriately eerie soundtrack to Lara DeBelder’s reading of Andrea Newman’s contemporary chiller ‘Such A Good Idea’. A video of the performance has now surfaced and can be enjoyed here in full, with thanks to the ever affable Andy Page for the camerawork! If that’s whetted your appetite for more, an audio recording of the evening’s other story, Conan-Doyle’s ‘The Case Of Lady Sannox’ has also been uploaded to Soundcloud:
In other news, Buried Treasure boss and Delaware Road chief strategist Alan Gubby has just dropped a second LP by his group Revbjelde and it’s an absolute blinder.
Hoohah Hubbub is available now as a strictly limited LP with beautiful artwork and a bonus CD of additional material. A perfect release for our fractured and dissenting age, it’s one of my albums of the year already and I predict it won’t stray far from the Foggy turntable for some time yet. It’s reviewed by none other than Bob Fischer in the latest Electronic Sound Magazine, who clearly approves:
This month’s edition of that most esteemed periodical also features Carlisle’s Vinyl Cafe, my joint all-time-favourite record store in in their regular ‘Talking Shop’ feature. Genial proprietor Mr. James Brown talks about the trials and tribulations of running a record store in my dear old hometown and the scene that has grown up around the shop over the last few years, including all manner of live shows by acts from near and far – including repeat visits by everyone’s favourite tape loop quartet and Cockermouth’s finest Hauntologist, lest we forget. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you had told me a decade ago that one day I could walk into a shop in Carlisle and buy LPs by Meredith Monk, Suzanne Ciani, Cabaret Voltaire, Sun Ra and the rest, I’d have branded you a hopeless idealist or mad. Five years and three editions of Winter Solstice Soundscapes later and here we are. Long life Vinyl Cafe!
Long live magazines that come with a four-track Joe Meek EP as well!
Anyway, hopefully see you on Tuesday. I’m very much looking forward to the show and promise to have all my tape loops, audio cables and power supplies extracted from the bundle in good time. Join us, won’t you? They’ll become entangled again almost immediately afterwards, so you might as well enjoy the spectacle while it lasts. Years from now we’ll both be able to say we were there for that briefest of periods where everything was in some semblance of order…